Pharmaceutical supply-chain managers have yet another item to step up their control of: tractor-trailers. A critical part of the delivery of supply, these large trucks have been used by many pharmaceutical companies for years to transport raw materials, ingredients, and final drug products. Cargo theft has always been a concern, but that concern is now growing.
FreightWatch International, a logistics-security provider, identified pharmaceuticals as the fifth largest cargo type targeted for theft in an February 1, Fox News interview. FreightWatch also happens to be a member of Rx-360, the recently established international pharmaceutical supply-chain consortium. The company has been able to track and recover many stolen goods, including a trailer full of sample pharmaceutical products in New Jersey. But it’s up to drug manufacturers and suppliers to make sure their goods are protected. In many cases, truckloads are stolen while truckdrivers enter a truckstop to eat or shower. Thieves have been known to repaint the trailer or rehitch it to a new tractor as part of their getaway plans. A February 1, Wall Street Journal article provides additional background.
FDA alerted the public in June 2009 after three lots of insulin vials, Levemir (Novo Nordisk), were stolen from an unattended refrigerated truck in North Carolina. Some of the vials, which were not handled or stored correctly after being stolen, became contaminated and made it to the market, demonstrating the critical danger this type of theft can bring to the public.
If it’s not already the case, it may be time for drug companies and suppliers to train—and warn—truckdrivers in charge of pharmaceutical loads as part of their secure supply-chain strategies.